Wife of ex-Mexican president announces run for presidency

06/15/15 Reuters


The wife of former Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Margarita Zavala, said on Sunday she would seek to emulate her husband by running for the presidency in 2018, and left open the prospect of staging an independent bid.

A former congresswoman for the center-right National Action Party (PAN), Zavala made a broad appeal across the political spectrum in a spartan two-minute video, saying she would work to improve the economy and the rule of law in Mexico.

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Mexico elections: Will ‘El Bronco’ factor drive weary voters to the polls?

5/28/15 The Christian Science Monitor

nuevo_leonIndependents are eligible to run in all states for the first time in June 7 elections. The gubernatorial race [here] in the northern state of Nuevo León is heating up, with the first non-affiliated candidate, Jaime Rodríguez Calderón, aka “El Bronco,” posing a formidable threat to the incumbent Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Mr. Rodríguez is polling first or second in a handful of surveys, underscoring widespread frustration with government corruption and leadership.

“In the past, Mexicans have said, ‘we get that politicians might not be honest, but we want ones who are effective,'” says Duncan Wood, director of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. “Now, it seems as though there’s a sense that if you’re with a party, you’re part of the problem instead of the solution.” Still, independents are facing an uphill battle to finance their campaigns and reach voters, says Mr. Weldon. El Bronco’s campaign has relied heavily on social media, with catchy videos and chatty exchanges with constituents posted on Facebook and Twitter.

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Calderon: Reported US Spying an ‘Insult’ to Mexico

calderonThe New York Times, 10/21/2013

Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon said Monday that the spying the U.S. reportedly did on his presidential email system was an affront to Mexican institutions that should be addressed by current Mexico authorities.

“This is an insult to the country’s institutions, more than to a person, since this was done when I was president of the republic,” Calderon wrote in a tweet.

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President Obama and labor rights in Mexico

obamaPolitico, 5/2/2013

As President Barack Obama prepares to travel to Mexico Thursday for a meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto economic growth, immigration and security policies top the agenda. Yet one unmentioned theme – Mexico’s dismal labor rights record – has important consequences for all three of these policy areas.

From 2006-2012, the government of Felipe Calderón mounted a full-scale assault on democratic labor unions in Mexico, combining all the mechanisms of labor control built up during 70 years of one-party rule with full-scale military assaults on striking workers. Although the compensation of Mexican workers relative to U.S. workers in manufacturing was lower in 2010 than in 1975, Calderón was determined to drive wages even lower to attract foreign investment.

It is not yet clear whether Peña Nieto intends to continue Calderón’s repressive policies, or whether he will finally respect Mexican workers’ rights. The message that Obama sends could make a crucial difference.

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Mexico stays on the sidelines in immigration reform debate

Mexico BricksLos Angeles Times, 1/29/2013

Here is what you probably won’t see in the coming weeks as the U.S. Congress debates a sweeping immigration overhaul: Mexico becoming involved.

Though the United States’ southern neighbor is the country with the most at stake as Washington considers changing its policy toward illegal immigrants, Mexican diplomats and government officials are expected to keep a low profile to avoid the appearance of meddling in U.S. affairs and to minimize any potential backlash among conservatives in the States.

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Mexico’s Calderon proposes UN lead debate on drug policy

Reuters, 9/26/12

The United Nations should lead a global debate over a less “prohibitionist” approach to drug policy, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said on Wednesday in the latest attempt by a Latin American leader to float possible changes to international narcotics laws.

Calderon, who leaves office on Dec. 1 after spending much of his presidency locked in a bloody battle with drug-smuggling gangs, told the U.N. General Assembly that organized crime was “one of the most serious threats of our time.”

“Today, I am proposing formally that (the United Nations) … carry out a far-reaching assessment of the progress and the limits of the current prohibitionist approach to drugs,” Calderon said.

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Troubles Vex Mexico Crime-Fighting Force

The Wall Street Journal, 9/9/12

The incidents are an embarrassing setback for Mr. Calderón, who has hailed the creation of the Federal Police as the future of Mexican policing and one of his biggest accomplishments since taking power in 2006. His government created the force three years ago out of a smaller, existing agency and it was meant to be a trustworthy counterbalance to Mexico’s many local and state police…

The agency relied heavily on the use of lie detector tests to vet new recruits. But many police commanders felt the Mexican officials in charge of the polygraph tests weren’t well enough trained, said Daniel Sabet, a Georgetown University researcher who was invited by the federal police to evaluate its disciplinary system last year…

While vetting new recruits is important, the police also lack a robust internal-affairs department, said Eric L. Olson, who has studied the Mexican Federal Police at the Washington-based think tank Wilson Center.

Mr. Olsen says that as of last year, roughly 95% of the internal investigations under way at the agency involved administrative issues like officers not wearing uniforms or showing up to work. The agency had recently set up a program to catch corrupt cops through sting operations, but had only employed it twice—in both cases to catch police who were asking for minor bribes on roads outside of the industrial hub of Monterrey, Mr. Olson said.

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